May 10, 2015

Chippewa County

Chippewa County extends a warm welcome to you to visit our beautiful county, located in northwestern Wisconsin. The county offers many exciting and affordable activities and places to explore, whether you are an outdoors person or prefer to just sit back and relax. Enjoy our county year round with ample outdoor trails to hike, bike, ski, horseback ride, ATV, snowmobile or just a relaxing walk to take in the abundant nature surrounding you. Our many state and local parks provide camping and day use. Sit back, relax and enjoy the nature that surrounds you in Chippewa County.

State Parks

Our 32,000 acres of pristine forestland and many picturesque parks offer a great opportunity to view birds and other wildlife. There are many wonderful county parks and state parks, with each one offering something special.

Lake Wissota State Park located northeast of Chippewa Falls has more than 1,000 acres of forest and open prairie on a 6,300-acre man-made lake, Lake Wissota. This state park offers secluded campsites, hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, picnic and playground areas as well as a 285-foot swimming beach. Boating, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are popular summer activities on Lake Wissota.

Brunet Island State Park, on the Chippewa and Fisher rivers, offers more than 1,300 acres of scenic beauty, wildlife and recreational opportunities. Quiet lagoons and channels are excellent for canoeing and wildlife watching. The landscape in Chippewa County is a product of the most recent Ice Age and the rolling terrain is home to a multitude of wildlife.

The Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area, situated along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in New Auburn, offers unspoiled beauty with kettle lakes and many glacial features. The Chippewa Moraine is one of nine units in the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and runs 23 miles from the Interpretive Center in New Auburn to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell. Hiking, snowshoeing, outpost camping, fishing and bird watching are popular activities. The David R. Obey Ice Age Interpretive Center houses first-class glacial, cultural and natural history displays. The Ice Age Trail, one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the U.S., is a thousand-mile footpath, highlighting Wisconsin's world-renowned Ice Age heritage and scenic beauty.

With activities available year round, plan a day hike or an overnight stay at one of these parks and see for yourself what makes this area so special. 

The Old Abe State Trail is a paved 19.5 mile trail that connects Lake Wissota State Park in Chippewa Falls to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell. This old railroad grade has been developed into a trail for bicyclists, snowmobilers, hikers, and horseback riders. Begin your trail experience at either the trailhead on 97th Avenue (junction Hwy S & Hwy O,) in Cornell at the Mill Yard Park, or at the Town Hall parking lot in Jim Falls. The trail from Jim Falls to Cornell was repaved in the fall of 2012 and the trail from Chippewa Falls to Jim Falls was repaved in 2013. A state bike trail pass is required for people over 16. Duncan Creek Trail, a five mile paved loop through Chippewa Falls ideal for biking and walking. This trail connects to the Old Abe State Trail northeast of CTH I. Portions of this trail are shared with motorized traffic. No pass is required. Hickory Ridge Recreation Area provides eleven miles of an off road mountain bike trail winding through the quiet and scenic oak and aspen forests. This trail consists of 3 challenging loops and 4 trails east of Bloomer. No pass is required. The Riverview Reserve is a 2.5 mile, paved and unpaved, trail that crisscrosses through the reserve. It is located on the east side of Seymour Cray Boulevard, in Chippewa Falls, providing great viewing opportunities of the Xcel Energy Dam. This trail connects to the Duncan Creek Trail and Old Abe State Trail. No pass is required.

Enjoy over 15 miles of ATV trails through the Chippewa County Forest. The hills, valleys and challenging terrain of the trail, were created by the action of glaciers many thousands of years ago. You will be challenged with steep hills and valleys, as the trail winds past small lakes and beaver ponds, as well as, spectacular vistas and abundant wildlife. Additional ATV routes are located throughout Chippewa County connecting the communities and surrounding counties. The Chippewa County ATV Trail is normally open to ATV riding from May 1st to November 15th of each year, except in case of emergency, when the County may close and gate the trail.

Lakes & Streams
Chippewa County has 449 lakes totaling 20,027 acres and ranging from 1 to 6,300 acres. Lake Wissota, the largest lake, is an impoundment of the Chippewa River east of Chippewa Falls. Although many of the smaller lakes do not support much of a fishery, they offer solitude and serenity for those wanting to get away. Thirty-eight lakes have developed public access and provide excellent angling opportunities. The Chippewa River and its flowage offer some of the best and diverse angling opportunities in the county.

Chippewa County also provides 81 miles of trout fishing in 24 classified trout streams. Seventy-seven miles of these streams are Class 1 trout water. No trout stocking is done in these streams since most support adequate natural reproduction.

Horseback Riding
Welcome to Chippewa County's 22 mile equestrian trail system. The trail winds through scenic northern hardwood forests. The rolling glacial moraine in the area offers constant changes in terrain and landscapes. Riders will pass by many lakes, ponds, and woodland streams on this truly scenic trail.

Yellowstone Trail
Many people have heard of the famous "Route 66," but have you ever heard of the not so famous, but just as spectacular, "Yellowstone Trail?” The Yellowstone Trail was the first transcontinental automobile highway in the United States through the northern tier of states from Washington to Massachusetts, through the great state of Wisconsin and through Chippewa County (specifically Chippewa Falls, Cadott, Boyd and Stanley). The Yellowstone Trail developed in parallel with the nationwide effort to improve roads. The burden of financing roads gradually moved from the local landowner and township up the levels of government until the federal government, the states, the counties and the townships shared the cost.  In 1918 Wisconsin became the first state to number its highways and in 1926 the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) established and numbered interstate routes (US route numbers), selecting the best roads in each state which could be connected to provide a rational network of "federal" highways. This route is truly a piece of history and a national treasure. Look for the iconic markers for the original Yellowstone Trail route marked with either yellow stones or the official yellow circle and arrow of the Association.  

Fall Driving Routes
As the seasons change, enjoy great fall colors as you drive along less traveled roads through the county. The Chippewa River Tour offers exquisite views of the Chippewa River and Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls and Jim Falls. You will be amazed by the Orchards Tour, as you travel through the countryside of Chippewa Falls passing by several orchards along the way, offering fresh apples, baked goods and wine. The Ice Age Tour takes you through the Ice Age Scientific Reserve and a portion of the Chippewa County forest as you travel northwest of Bloomer. There is an abundance of wildlife, trails and small lakes that complete this tour. The Otter Lake Tour provides the naturalist at heart great views of old farms, bridges and waterways while traveling around Stanley and Boyd. Request your Fall Driving Routes brochure and get details, maps, and descriptions of these routes.


Cross-Country Skiing
We invite you to visit us during the winter season and utilize over 48 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. The Hickory Ridge Recreation Area, located near Bloomer, provides 27 km of groomed trail for classic or skate skiing winding through quiet and scenic northern hardwood forest. The trail system consists of multiple challenging loops with rolling to steep grades. Over 12 km of groomed classic stride and skate skiing trails are maintained at Lake Wissota State Park in Chippewa Falls. Brunet Island State Park, located in Cornell, provides 6.9 km. The trail starts at the park office and leads users along a scenic tour of the Fisher River, over a variety of glacial terrain. The trail is divided into a short loop and a long loop and is groomed for classic skiing during the winter. Irvine Park & Zoo, located in Chippewa Falls, offers users 4.8 km of groomed trail along gently rolling terrain, through a mature mixed hardwood forest. 

Snowmobile enthusiasts will enjoy over 500 miles of snowmobile trails through a variety of landscapes which makes them both fun and exciting. While riding our trails, check out the glacial formations, rolling hills, and beautiful wooded forests. This trail system travels through Chippewa County and connects with many other county trails, giving drivers and riders the opportunity to travel by snowmobile statewide. The Chippewa Valley Snowmobile Organization maintains and grooms the trail system; keeping the trails in excellent riding condition during the snowmobile season. 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend away or an adventure filled weekend, come Explore Chippewa County for yourself.   For detailed area information visit, or contact the Chippewa Area Visitor Center at 1-888-723-0024 or 1 N. Bridge St. Chippewa Falls, WI 54729.